- my rating: 3.5 stars
- published by: Sky Pony Press
- genres: young adult, contemporary, humour
- diversity: none. this aspect is heavily critiqued on page
- where to purchase: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?
Or maybe you’re just really confused about what “opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs” actually are?
Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.
As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.
Alone in his room, Broody McHottiepants contemplated his future. He was the best of all fictional characters ever created – that he knew. His phone never stopped ringing (playing his theme song from his latest hit-movie adaptation, of course) with Authors begging him to star in their latest novels. An endlessly talented man, he’d been everything from a vampire to a quarterback. Into each novel, he brought his incredibly adjective-filled beauty, his gemstone colours gaze, his strong, strong arms, and his potent blend of wish-fulfilment and slightly toxic masculinity.
And each time, people swooned.
Brooding YA Hero is one of my favourite bookish twitters. The tweets that come out of it are always simultaneously funny and perceptive of the general YA community. I was excited to read this: I expected major sass, a bit of lowkey dragging and tea to be spilt all over the place.
Brooding YA Hero: Become a Main Character (Almost) As Awesome As Me follows the exact same tone of the twitter page, but basically expands itself out to a full book length. I expected something funny, something a little biting and something that pointed out some of the issues with YA.
This book has all that, and surprisingly, has a plot too. Broody McHottiepants, the owner of the twitter, has been feeling neglected as a main character and has decided to share his experiences as a main character by writing a guide for his fellow characters to become a main character. He is helped by Blondie DeMeani, his ex who, because she dresses stereotypically feminine, is also considered evil by Broody (obviously!)
Brooding YA Hero definitely has a sharp sense of humour. There’s subtle (and not so subtle) drags on popular YA authors. The sarcastic tone of the novel allows itself to attacking and critiquing poor YA themes and tropes, all in the guise of Broody explaining his experiences as a main character.
The inclusions of quizzes, charts and horoscope guides was also a fun addition to the book. I definitely enjoyed the horoscope guides towards the end. (PSA! My horoscope says I best represent the car chase YA trope)
Brooding YA Hero also puts in a decent amount of time into critiquing and exploring how YA perpetuates problematic representations and characterisations. The “ethnically ambiguous” side character, the kill your (marginalised person) trope, the overrepresentation of allocishet white men as main characters and love interests, and the lack of complex female characters in YA are all directly called out within text, and Broody’s main story arc is coming to recognise these stories are under represented and that marginalised people are often poorly written. I loved that during the section about love interests, the author made it clear everyone should substitute pronouns as needed. And also, the validation of asexual and aromantic peoples through Blondie DeMeani’s input on love interests.
This book is quite short, and so it would probably be perfect for readathons, but I actually think it’s a good book to read slowly, just a chapter or two at once. Broody’s narration and headspace is funny, but too much at once gets .. grating. Take Broody in small doses.
Overall, Brooding YA Hero Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) As Awesome Is Me is funny, and on point. The joking about which gem coloured eyes best convey each personality, which classic YA trope fits your horoscope, and how best to conquer the love triangle are really funny and refreshing for anyone who’s ever felt frustrated with some of the overdone aspects of YA. This definitely is a tongue in cheek look at YA, and you’ll get a few easy laughs from it, trust me. Tea was spilt.
But this book also takes an oppurtunity to educate on the good YA is going, and the good it can continue to do, especially for those underrepresented.
Young Adult fiction is potential captured and frozen – a bright bolt of lightning caught on the page for everyone to read. It is both universal and incredibly personal, changeable and yet constant.